Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

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STEVE G
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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by STEVE G » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:02 am

One bizarre discovery we made is that the Elephants that take tourists for rides in Hua Hin also understand "suay" as that's what many of the mahouts from an area where they train them near Surin speak.

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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by poosmate » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:13 pm

I think this explains and tries to tell the truth:
EDITORIAL
This quick fix for schools is failing our children
By The Nation

Plan to declare English as second language in classroom ignores real problem: huge class sizes and outdated teaching methods

The debate on whether the Education Ministry should declare English as the second language in schools does not address the root cause of the problems in Thai schools. The real issue is the quality of teaching, not just of English but of all the subjects that students need to learn to be equipped for the future. Thai students already spend several hours on each subject per week in the classroom. What remains highly debatable, however, is whether schools give their students the quality time essential to learning.

The attempt to declare English as the second language in the classroom is an admirable thing and shows we are concerned over the low quality of learning. Knowledge of English undoubtedly broadens students' opportunities for learning. But it does not take a grand ambition to place English as the second language to solve the problem. Educators can tackle the issue effectively if they themselves are willing to learn and remain open-minded.

Every Thai student already studies English, but the average level of proficiency is highly questionable. Many teachers have not received training to improve their skills, or access to new knowledge. Some simply don't have the language skills to teach English. This means that many of our students are stuck with unqualified teachers day in, day out.

Although educators often claim they want to prepare students for the fast-changing world, most Thai schools still operate in the same way as their predecessors half a century ago. Typically, up to 50 students are crammed into one classroom and subjected to robotic learning by rote. Teaching methods have barely changed over the years. One change we can expect to see, though, is a drop in the quality of teachers, as their low pay means that teaching is no longer a coveted profession.

The authorities are scrambling for a quick fix. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, they prefer to announce a big-budget programme under a "sexy" title. But spending money alone will not guarantee satisfactory results. It is a shame that money is being lavished on education but producing nothing for our kids.

Rather than debating the terms of our English teaching, educators should take a direct route to improving learning by, first, focusing on limiting the class size for each subject. This puts the priority on ensuring every student receives sufficient attention from teachers. The method of learning by rote does not inspire students to excel at subjects for which they show aptitude. The current classroom environment fails when it comes to promoting either multidimensional learning or students' self-esteem. Students are often judged simply on their ability to memorise lessons, meaning that those with other talents can feel discouraged and left out.

Teachers should also receive constant training, because we owe it to our students to provide them with the best possible schooling. Improvements could also be made if public schools drew more on the resources of progressive or international schools, which are more up to date with techniques.

Meanwhile, an open-minded attitude is essential among teachers and school principals; learning is a never-ending process. Efforts to get retiree native English-speakers to assist in Thai schools have been unsuccessful largely because of the cold reception from teachers who are more concerned about their turf and ego than their students. These teachers should be sacked.

Teaching our children to become good "global citizens" should also be on the agenda. For instance, they should be taught about conserving energy and the impact they can have on the environment. But responsibility and citizenship are not sufficiently addressed. Instead, youngsters only hear adults asking for their rights but refusing to be accountable.

And most importantly, students should be given belief in their capacity and ability. Rather than promoting youngsters' self-actualisation, schools tend to punish students who don't perform well in the robotic model of learning. Meaningful knowledge is sidelined in favour of teaching students to fit into a mould by achieving good grades.

Thai students need to learn more about their geography and history to see how this physical and cultural background has shaped them. This will then enable them to understand themselves better. In contrast, currently they are usually forced merely to memorise information without learning how to think with it.


-- The Nation 2010-10-21
no more dePreston

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PeteC
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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by PeteC » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:54 am

I didn't want to start a new thread for this one as it fits here, somewhat. How and from where does this man plan to find the 'skilled workers' he is talking about? All pie in the sky talk with no grasp of reality. Pete :cheers:

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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by Spitfire » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:02 pm

Doesn't matter whether they sanction English or not, it will happen through default, despite their denial. Also agree with the post that mentioned about Thai being the second language in many areas, plus the fear they hold in BBK ivory towers of what it might mean if it is sanctioned and then put it into law, really is the definition of denial and is painfully transparent.

It would honestly be interesting to get the spoken language demographics of Thailand regarding area and what is predominantly spoken where. You'd never get it, would be considered as "non-fluffy" or the "truth" and we couldn't possible release info of such nature.

Not allowing 70-80 year old politicians decide everything would be a step forward too. Having people that grew up before WWII deciding stuff now is ridiculous. Many Asian countries have this trait of old men deciding stuff way beyond their retirement/valuable age.

Agree with Prcscct, their "Thainess" will be their undoing in the future as it inhibits them to get ahead/progress, ultimately.

:cheers:
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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by Takiap » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:34 pm

Thanks Spitfire..................now I don't need to bother typing because you;ve already said what I would say.

How in the hell can you have some vintages deciding anything with regards to governing a country. If you ask me, the cut off age should be fifty, and I don't mean that in a bad way either, considering I'm just about there myself. Half of these buggers in the government can't even see numbers on there mobile phones, so how the hell do they know what they're signing.. :laugh:

English as a second language? Without trying to sound negative, it certainly won't happen in my lifetime. Pride stands in their way, and I can't see that changing any time soon.
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STEVE G
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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by STEVE G » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:58 pm

It would honestly be interesting to get the spoken language demographics of Thailand regarding area and what is predominantly spoken where. You'd never get it, would be considered as "non-fluffy" or the "truth" and we couldn't possible release info of such nature.
This book, which is not that recent (1994) seems to be a standard reference on the subject:

Linguistic diversity and national unity: language ecology in Thailand. William Allen Smalley

You can get a preview on Google.books and if you go to Appendix 'B' it has language population estimates.

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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by Frank Hovis » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:18 am

Not wanting to be a semantic pedant (but I'm going to be) but it's not just a second language, it's a second writing system altogether. It's not like being an English speaker and learning Spanish or German or other Roman/Latin system.
And now for the suggestion that's probably been made a million times already... drum roll please....
Keep the current language but use Roman/Latin script, like Rumi instead of Jawi in Malaysia. Learning English then becomes just a matter of learning a language and vice versa for so many foreigners who would like to learn the language here.
Numerals are already on their way out probably helped by keypads having Roman numerals only, even Govt. documentation carries Roman numerals. Twitter and facebook are full of Romanised text, 7Elevens are spreading the discord and anywhere open 24x7 doesn't say ๒๔x๗. When was the last time you got a receipt with the actual prices written in script?
Dodgy keyboards, advertising & till receipts, is it that easy to end a writing system?

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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by ex-STW-teacher » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 am

Thailand needs English undoubtedly if it wishes to be competitive, but I think the more important objective is getting class sizes down from the present ludicrous 50-ish to a more manageable level. Smaller classes mean more interactive lessons, encouraging independent thinking and real learning rather than rote/parrot fashion garbage. That's the REAL big fix Thailand needs to progress.

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Re: Plan to make English 2nd language vetoed

Post by Spitfire » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:19 am

^ Yes, but they are private businesses and are run with pretty much just one thing in mind, fixing those kind of problems would hit the bottom line, so are dismissed. There would need to be a very deep change in the perceptions and attitudes of the culture to see stuff like that right itself on a generally national level. Many schools have gone for a halfway measure of implementing an EP program that have smaller classes with foreign teachers teaching everything other than Thai/social etc but these are expensive for parents and the institutions motivations for doing it are more likely to come down on the side of extra income generation rather than providing a credible alternative to the chaos that usually prevails everywhere.

Greed/avarice always wins out on this one, business ethics haven't arrived here yet, well, not the type of ones we might be used too.

Only international schools routinely get this class size game right and we all know how expensive the are.

Everywhere else it's mostly a case of "Rack them and stack them."

I have even witnessed a school that had so many students in it that a huge section would be hidden from the government inspectors when they came round in ghost classes that where specifically put together for that day to thin the numbers out and it was taught by a young receptionist while the officials were touring round. Others that couldn't be fitted in, or where the school was hopelessly over their official capacity, where simple told not to come to school and have the day off. Afterwards the classes were put back together again and normal service was resumed. :shock:
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